What does it mean to be a good citizen?
That is what Sarah Ludwig, a member of the Shooting Sports 4-H Club learned during a program held in Washington, D.C. called Citizen Washington Focus.
Ludwig, who is going to be a senior this fall at Wabasso High School, attended the annual conference sponsored by 4-H. The conference is held at the National 4-H youth center and provides an opportunity for attendees to learn about the history of the United States and the leaders who helped to shape the county through their roles in civic affairs at the national, state and local level.
The program uses the nation’s capital as a “living classroom” as the thousands of youth who attend one of several one-week sessions held throughout the summer spend time visiting the sites in Washington, D.C. and learning about what makes each of those locations important in the formation of the nation.
“I was there June 29 through July 6,” said Ludwig.
Ludwig, who has served as a state 4-H ambassador for the shooting sports program, said the Citizen Washington Focus program helped her not only to learn more about the country but also to develop leadership skills she can use in the future.
Participants learned about the policymaking process at the federal level, and worked in groups to create action plans that could be used in local 4-H programs to en-hance learning experiences for other youth.
Ludwig said she was part of a large group that included other youth form Minnesota, as well as from states including West Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi and Maine.
Ludwig, who is currently the secretary for her club, said the focus is on helping develop leadership, but it is also about taking plans back home to see how she can get more youth involved with 4-H at all levels.
There were opportunities for Ludwig to develop her public speaking skills.
She was able to visit many historic places, and along the way was able to stop and visit Gettysburg. She said being able to see all of that history was interesting.
Seeing Arlington National Cemetery was especially inspiring, said Ludwig.
Ludwig is also going to be able to develop the skills she learned at a program she is attending in Baton Rouge, La. this summer, as she was one of two youth selected to represent Minnesota at the National Shooting Sports team leadership program.
Overall, Ludwig said her experience in Washington, D.C. was a good, one, adding she would recommend other youth take part in the program if they have the opportunity.
For more information about the program visit the national 4-H center Web site at www.4hcenter.org.